6 Tips for Doing Home Addition Projects the Right Way

February 04, 2019 · 2 minute read

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6 Tips for Doing Home Addition Projects the Right Way

Perhaps you’ve decided you need more space than what your current home offers, and yet you don’t want to move—and so you’ve decided to build a home addition. Or, maybe you’re building a guest cottage, a new garage or other outbuilding, or adding a deck, installing a pool, or something else entirely. Or, maybe you’re doing more than one of these projects.

Although the specifics of each of these undertakings may vary, the same underlying principles apply to each of them—and so we’ve decided to share five tips for doing home addition projects the right way.

To transform your home addition ideas into a completed project, you should:

•  Create a plan

•  Set a clear budget

•  Decide what, if anything, you plan to do yourself

•  Work with trusted professionals

•  Research and obtain permitting requirements

•  Strategically fund your project

Home additions can boost the value of the home, while adding beauty and functionality. In fact, home additions and renovations can be one of the most effective ways to increase your home’s value, and you can tailor the construction to your particular stage in life, in a way that meets your unique needs and wants.

Let’s get started!

Create a Plan

Let’s say you’ve decided to add an extra bedroom and bathroom to the back of your house, perhaps for a place for guests to stay. As part of your process, you’ll need to first make sure that the addition will fit within your property lines, and you’ll need to check with your local government to see how closely codes in your city allow you to build next to someone else’s property, if applicable. You’ll also need to ensure that any construction will not interfere with utility lines and pipes.

As you design the bedroom and bathroom, think about them from two perspectives: First, how these rooms will add value to and look inside your living space and, also, how their construction will impact, architecturally speaking, the outside of your home.

You’ll need detailed plans drawn up, from an architect or builder (more about working with trusted professionals later), that describe the scope of the work and the materials needed. Speaking of increasing home value, discover the resale value of your next home improvement project with our Home Project Value Estimator.

One strategy, during this phrase, is to dream big and then to have alternate choices in mind if your budget, the material availability or another factor causes you to need to tweak your plans. You may, as just one example, appreciate the look of chic faux marble flooring, but its price point may be higher than you’d initially estimated or it may not blend in with the rest of your house as well as you’d hoped.

According to HomeAdvisor.com , home additions can typically cost anywhere from $14,000 to $150,000, with the average home addition cost being $40,915. This figure doesn’t take multiple factors into account, including where you live, the size and scope of your addition, or the slope of your property, among other factors. Plus, if you want your addition to blend in with the rest of your house, you may need to also do some improvements in already-existing rooms.

Set a Clear Budget

According to HouseLogic.com , a website associated with REALTORS®, major upgrades (bathroom remodel or family-room addition) typically cost $100 to $200 per square foot, but sometimes cost more. This article recommends that you get bids from three professionals and then add 15% to 20% to the price given by the contractor you’d like to use to cover potential overages.

If you can manage this dollar amount when taking a look at your savings, then this project is within your budget. If the ballpark figure is too high, then it makes sense to look at alternative choices for materials that will still give you the addition you want or otherwise scale back on your plans.

If you intend to work with a specific contractor, then this company may be able to help you to choose lower-cost options (replacing, for example, granite countertops with laminate ones) and offer creative solutions gleaned from their years of experience.

You may want to look at a smaller addition and/or ask the contractor for pricing for the off-season. And, read tip three for another tip to consider.

Research & Obtain Permitting Requirements

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as deciding what you want to do, saving up, and then paying for the work. You also need to make sure your home is appropriately zoned for the remodel. Depending on the work you’re interested in doing, you may or may not need a permit.

For example, if you want to build a deck in some states, you might need a permit if you intend for it to be more than 30 inches off the ground. However, if it’s less than 30 inches off the ground, a permit may not be necessary.

Decide What, If Anything, You Plan to Do Yourself

Let’s say that the home addition ideas you have are necessary to solve space problems, as just one example, perhaps because you’re having a baby or having your mother move into your home with you. But, you’ve got to find a way to adjust the costs. In that case, it can make sense to figure out what you can do yourself. And, depending upon your skill sets and time, this may be a perfect solution.

If, for example, you’ve got the experience needed to safely do demo work (without damaging load-bearing walls, electrical wires and the like), this can save you some money.

To find materials for your home addition that will blend in well, you can go to places like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore , attend auctions, or explore similar options to find salvaged materials. Before you go this route, though, make sure your contractor is willing to work with recycled materials, ones that may not be standard size.

If you’ve got professional-level skills in, say, plumbing or drywall, you can talk to your contractor about taking on those tasks yourself and reducing the amount owed to the contractor. Or, you can take on the finish work yourself, such as sanding walls, painting them, and generally doing cleanup.

Work With Trusted Professionals

Whether you do some work yourself or plan to have the professionals of your choice build the addition, it’s crucial that you hire the right contractor for your needs. Tips include:

•  Get three to six bids, and then research companies that seem like good matches. You can check for information about these contractors at LinkedIn , Angie’s List , the Better Business Bureau and so forth. Have any complaints been filed at your state’s contractor board? (You can find state requirements for contractors here .) For contractors that still interest you, check out the references they provide.

•  Be wary of especially low bids. That contractor may not understand what exactly you want and this can lead to significant problems if you choose this company without clarifying specifics.

•  Choose a contractor that you think you can work well with, but don’t base your decision largely on emotion.

Strategically Fund Your Project

It can be tempting, when adding a room to a house, to use your credit cards to pay for expenses. And, if you’re doing this to maintain a record of your spending or to take advantage of credit card reward points and so forth, this can be a good strategy if you can pay off the balance quickly, ideally within a single billing cycle.

But, when you can’t pay off the balances, it’s easy to get caught up in a spiral of debt, and credit card debt is especially challenging. Here’s why.

Credit card companies typically charge compound interest on the current balances on your accounts, which means they charge interest on the accrued interest.

This means that there is interest that’s continually being calculated on a daily basis and added to your balance until you pay it off in full.

To find out how compound interest is affecting your outstanding balances, you can use our credit card interest calculator.

Home Improvement Loans

Instead, consider getting a home improvement loan. At SoFi, we offer competitive rate home improvement loans that can allow you to focus less on your budget and more on building your dreams.

Benefits of choosing SoFi for your personal loan for your home improvements include:

•  A quick process: You’re anxious to get started (who wouldn’t be?) and, on average, it takes only seven days from online approval to funding, allowing you to transform your home addition plans into reality soon.

•  Fixed payments: This is ideal for budgeting purposes.

•  Absolutely no fees: None. No surprises, no hidden fees, no catches. None.

Plus, you can keep the equity in your home because this is a personal loan, rather than a home equity line of credit or other form of a second mortgage.

When it comes to our personal loans, they are 100% fee-free. Plus, the application process is fast and easy, conveniently online, and you have access to live customer support seven days a week.

If you lose your job, we can pause your payments temporarily, and even help you to find a new job.

Ready to get started? You can find your rate in just two minutes, with no commitment. When you’re ready to get going with your home addition plans, you can apply for your personal loan quickly and easily.


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